America’s population comprises of a high percentage being middle class citizens built on a foundation of dependency in manufacturing jobs. The sector support at least one out of six jobs, and pays benefits that include salaries and wages, which are 23% higher than other jobs, in the economy (Obama 2009, pp 4). These jobs have for a long time built on the American dream that if one works hard then he/she can count on that job to clear bills, get proper health care, guaranteed pensions, proper education, and other necessities of life. It is unfortunate that this dream has become unreachable (Hickey 2012, par 3). Since 2000, the country has lost over 3.7 million jobs in manufacturing sector. Michigan, for example lost an approximate of 241000 jobs in the sector between 2000 and 2006. Current reports also indicate continued decrease in functioning of the sector the most hit being automobile production.
In his pledge, Barack Obama assures Americans on the possibility of harnessing power of productivity, and American ingenuity with an objective of revitalizing the sector, and address infrastructural and energy challenges, faced in the country. He believes that partnerships with the private sector, and all citizens would spur innovation, investment skills, enhance national capacity, and stand up for American manufacturing sector in global markets (Obama n.d, par 6). The agenda aims at renewing the middle class population, and improve on economical standards.
In order to achieve this goal Obama feels the need to nurture skills at college level. He views that education plays a crucial role in development of knowledge and skills that are required in manufacturing. The President believes that with proper skills attained in colleges, the manufacturing job market will be equipped with professionals and expertise who guarantee the economy quality production. This paper explores on the benefits that education will add to manufacturing industry at an individual and economical level (Fitzgerald 2013, par 6).
The President plans to invest in American manufacturing by training workers at college level for high-tech jobs, in manufacturing sector. This would be by strengthening education department with funding and grants so that enrollment to community colleges becomes cheap, and affordable (Obama 2009, pp 13). The plan involves implementing open policies on admissions, scheduling flexible courses so as to accommodate part time and full time learners, affordable tuition, and having colleges at convenient locations. The President also imposed statutory obligations for for-profit learning institutions in their application for federal governments’ loans so that the reported cases of increased drop outs in these institutions will decrease. The obligations will also enhance growth of quality education, and provision of courses that guarantee jobs, for students.
Community colleges form the largest part of America’s higher education. The colleges enroll at least 6 million students per year, and they are reported to have an increasing trend of growth. The colleges work in partnership with private sector, industries, and government in provision of training programs, which meet the job market criterion. The President proposes a graduation initiative to help Americans achieve credentials and skills, and fund investments in community colleges to equip learners with necessary skills and credentials (Hickey 2012, par 5).
The manufacturing sector is among sectors of the economy, which has high expectations on growing from this agenda. The advantage that the sector has over other public sectors is that it is wide and broad, and requires an integration of different levels of knowledge and skills. This is in comparison with some sectors such as nursing, teaching, and banking which require lower levels of skills. Manufacturing sector involves a combination of different skills, and, therefore, employs more people as compared to any other sector (Fitzgerald 2013, par 6).
With development of community colleges, it is expected that there will be in an increase in number of students’ enrollments in community colleges. This will impact positively on manufacturing growth. With relevant skills, students will have chances to explore on all possible opportunities, and come up with different initiatives and innovative ideas, which manufacturing sector requires (Curtis 2013, par 4). The qualified students will have an opportunity to learn on the diversity, and changing structures of world manufacturing industry. This will boost their thinking capacity, quality development, and improve on their competitiveness in order to fit in the international markets. The skills provided in community colleges will ensure that students are fully equipped with proper tools in making vast decisions to cope with diversities in manufacturing sector, and it’s segmentation in market.
In addition, the education will initiate moves destined to have sustainable manufacturing, and industrial development in the international market (Sherman 2013, par 8). Recently, the sector has been significantly affected with economic recession, experienced in the country. This led to closure of many industries, and manufacturing firms as a result of reduced number of customers, and increased costs of production (Obama n.d, par 4). Gaining skills will provide for concepts used in making sustainable solutions, which will enable use and reuse of raw materials, and energy. This will facilitate production at low costs, leading to increased levels of production thus growth of the sector.
Improving on the quality of education in community colleges will boost capability and skills of new technologies used in manufacturing process. Diversities in production using modern technologies have led to other economies such as China and Japan to beat the economy of US. Having affordable high education would imply offering such courses as modern ICT, and means of production such as machine operations, which would boost job creation in the sector.
Community colleges are known to provide a variety of courses as compared to for-profit making learning institutions. This means that facilitating the effectiveness of such learning institutions would increase on the level of skills in the job market. This will add on the existing expertise, and will enhance product quality and differentiation. The manufacturing sector will have capability to produce unique products, and penetrate in the global market.
Increased community college enrolment would also benefit manufacturing sector as much as environmental issues are concerned (Fitzgerald 2013, par 7). The sector has for a long time been criticized on its environmental effects. There has been few expertise to deal with energy reuse, waste recycle procedures, and proper methods of waste disposal. The community colleges will increase the skills and capacity on how to deal with environmental hazards, and encourage action in all industries to implement sustainable environmental measures. This will act as an incentive to put as much resource into use, and make effective use on available economic instruments.
Among the President’s proposals in developing the sector includes creation of a network of at least 25 manufacturing institutes for innovation (White n.d, par 13). The plan is to have institutions focusing on nurturing ideas, and coming up with innovations that would be useful in boosting manufacturing sector. The largest percentages of students who enroll in for profit making colleges include less disadvantaged who have potential but lack proper credentials. They enroll in these colleges so that they get faster means of survival after school, but most of them do not get the jobs due to lack of skills. With community schools, educators are more focused in bringing out potential of students as compared to private learning institutions, which focus on profit generation.
The manufacturing innovation institutes will be used for assessing the current challenges faced in manufacturing sector, and coming up with innovative ideas that provide sustainable solutions to such limitations. The institutions will enhance development of broad mind of creativity among students, and this will in turn contribute to manufacturing of variety of products (Obama 2009, pp 8). This will impact on uniqueness, and open the economy to global market. In addition, the institutes will develop manufacturing expertise that can be used in various industries in development of uniform products.
Innovation institutes will also act as centers for technological growth and innovation (Curtis 2013, par 6). The centers will enhance that students are equipped with modern technology used in manufacturing. This will facilitate growth in development of high levels of technological innovations that will facilitate manufacturing standards, speed, and output. The students will also learn on maintaining high levels of technology in the process. This will boost on performance, manufacturing techniques, and reduced costs of production. Innovative ideas will add on the manufacturing job list since more industries from the developed ideas will come up looking for skills.
Community colleges will also offer training programs that will boost development of skills among students (Obama 2009, pp 6). Such programs will include practical work, and attachments in existing firms. Such activities will act as motivating factors to students in learning that there are opportunities in the job market. In addition they will assist students in determining their strong and weak points, and correct them before they leave for jobs. Training students will also imply that degrees are given to only deserving students who qualify to enter into job market. It will ensure that the expertise in manufacturing is not compromised, and only the best that have the required skills in the sector are inducted (White n.d, par 8).
The overall plan in improving community colleges towards the manufacturing sector is aimed to strengthen the sector, and move the country towards an energy independent economy. Obama believes that education is the foundation to creation of a stable manufacturing sector, in the economy. Education will promote commercialization of renewable energy, investments in low emission plants, and create a transition towards a digital energy network. The principle focus of the agenda will be to ensure that technologies built in the country are developed by Americans themselves, and deployed around the world. This will be enhanced through the introduction of programs such as Clean Technologies in high learning community colleges so that students have the skills required in converting manufacturing centers to Clean Technology Fronts.
Barack believes that American workers and companies should work on high-demand technologies that will assist nurture the success of the economy in clean technology manufacturing (Curtis 2013, par 4). This can only be achieved by establishing educational programs that would help Americans in learning new skills of production, and modernize the existing manufacturing centers. Community colleges will act as research centers in this regard to provide for recommendations on the best strategies to implement in manufacturing, and on how to create new investment opportunities (Sherman 2013, par 7). This will ensure that manufacturing centers only produce high demand products on either local or international market. It will enhance specialty in production, and this will boost on quality and differentiation.
The agenda will support on advanced manufacturing in US, which would create new production means, open international markets, and creating ways of making the products produced locally dependable (Hickey 2012, par 3). This will minimize on imports, and maximize on locally produced goods hence economic growth. The move will act as a platform in investing in future generations’ innovators and job creators, in the country. This will further open links to communities, engineers, economists, and scientists among others. Collaboration among these experts will foster overall economic growth of the economy.
Obama’s educational plan does not only aim at developing the manufacturing sector, but aims at having a uniform growth in all sectors, of the economy. However, the agenda targets much on manufacturing sector since it is the prime employer, and key sector in the economy. The sector requires various skills in effective production compared to other sectors that may only require one specialization.
The continued rapid growth in technology also prompts for acquisition of necessary skills in manufacturing. Being in possession of such skills, therefore, implies high tech manufacturing, and production of quality products. The growth of the sector largely depends on development and acquisition of proper skills required by modern technology. Funding community colleges to have such programs would, therefore, mean equipping the sector with necessary skills. The program will benefit the manufacturing sector in development of skills and knowledge required in manufacturing jobs, and in production of commodities that will open the economy to global markets.
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